Dan Carlin

Hardcore History has very quickly become a go-to favorite. Dan possesses a beautiful skill marrying the study of history (the facts, the dates, the sires and whatnot) with a stark and empathetic consideration for the humanity of history. His series on the Mongol khans is a truly stunning work of storytelling, walking a floss-wide line between awe for the genius and cunning and ruthlessness of the Mongol conquests, and heartbreak for the wrenching agony of the victims. Apologies to Dan and his team for saying this, but there’s only one complaint: after every episode I want three more. Why can’t there be a thousand of you, please?

American Ninja Warrior, Vegas Stage 1

Failure is everything.  There's the obstacle course engineered to punish anything other than excellence.  There's the countdown starting at 2 minutes 25 seconds, positively anemic.  There's an aristocratic sum of cash dangling in the far distance.  And God, if this isn't an analog for the struggle of life in a cruel universe, there's one soul after another making a run for the money.  They're every type of fit you can imagine--bulky and lithe, fast and quick, explosive and enduring--and they just . . . fail.  It breaks your heart a different way every time.  They splash out right at the start.  Or they get within inches and lose to the clock.  Sometimes it's the money, and knowing what it would mean to them.  Sometimes it's just pride, purely, that takes a horrible gash.  One slip and it's over.  For anyone.  At any time.  Like with all of us.  And so when that rare one hits the buzzer, Sweet Jesus, you cheer like they're kin, because they are.

"No Poems inside the Victorian House" by Alysia Harris

Fire, fire poetic bildungsroman!

Tells the birth of an artist, a “dream of a beautiful exsanguination”

The childhood of an artist, growing “careful, and also thankful, but then really careful”

The adulthood of an artist, “how not to saddle them with my baggage”

The parenthood of an artist, “I will not allow you . . . to hollow you!”

And the solitude, “had to remember my joy and speak it into being.”


Spider-Man: Homecoming

The return of Happy Hogan!

The diversity of Queens

The wonderfully dickish Flash Thompson

Hannibal Burress and the PSAs

The evolution of Karen

That fear of heights

Donald Glover’s “You need to get better at this part”

Aunt May admitting she snuck out

Laura Harrier’s “I know”

Picking her up for the dance

That car ride to the dance!

Peter Parker failing and failing and failing and trying because of his heart

Tom Holland and that lonely crisis

That last expression on Zendaya’s face

That last line before the credits

That end-credits scene

The miracle of six screenwriters crafting this lovely story!